VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Boxing News / The 16 Greatest Upsets in Heavyweight Boxing History

The 16 Greatest Upsets in Heavyweight Boxing History

Comment below
Publish Date: 06/06/2022
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

I am writing this article a few weeks after Andy Ruiz’s performance against Anthony Joshua because I wanted some perspective. Yes, it was a tremendous upset but was it the greatest? The obvious answer is no, that distinction goes to James Douglas, and I don’t even think the comparison of the two fights is even close. Check out the best bookmakers!

Today I want to compare and rate the greatest upsets in all of heavyweight history. The criteria here is simply how big the upset was at the time it happened. Ali is on here a couple of times, and to be truthful, knowing what we know now, we could probably relegate those to not being upsets. But, let’s face it; they don’t call him “The Greatest” for nothing.

Check out the top sportsbook bonuses!

SI Sportsbook
1.
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
Bonus Code
******
SI Sportsbook Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Free Bet
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly – Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
2.
100% up to
$500
Bonus Code
******
BetRivers.com Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Risk-Free Bet
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
BetMGM
3.
100% up to
$1000
Bonus Code
******
BetMGM Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Risk-Free Bet
Cashable:
no
Requirements (WR):
1x Bonus
DraftKings
4.
20% up to
$1000
Bonus Code
******
DraftKings Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Deposit Bonus
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
25x Bonus
FanDuel
5.
Bonus Code
******
FanDuel Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Deposit Bonus
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
25x Bonus

16) Michael Bentt KO 1 Tommy Morrison

Four months before this fight, Tommy Morrison had beaten George Foreman to claim the WBO heavyweight title, and a fight was looming with Lennox Lewis. Bentt, on the other hand, was a 10-1 underdog and had lost his pro debut to Jerry Jones. The level of competition he had faced did not indicate that he would deal with Morrison. Bentt was a great amateur fighter, but he had not lived up to expectations so far in his career. However, that all changed on this night as he didn’t just beat Morrison; he knocked him out in the first round!

15) James J. Corbett KO 21 John L. Sullivan

Sullivan was 38-0-1 and was the self-proclaimed baddest SOB around. He had offered a purse of $25,000 and a $10,000 side bet winner-take-all, and Corbett and his manager took him up on it. Corbett boxed the entire fight beautifully and slowly wore Sullivan out until round 21 when an exhausted Sullivan was beaten senseless by Corbett, who became the second gloved Heavyweight Champion in history.

14) Gene Tunney UD Jack Dempsey I

Dempsey and Babe Ruth were the most popular athletes of the roaring ’20s, and Dempsey took that fame to heart and fought seldom. Unfortunately, it caught up to him in this fight. This is one of those fights where hindsight makes this not look like it’s not so big of an upset. Dempsey had not fought in a little over three years before this, and Tunney is an all-time great fighter. Tunney controlled the fight easily, winning in front of over 120,000 fans.

13) Andy Ruiz Jr KO 7 Anthony Joshua

Ruiz had been a solid pro coming into this fight, and most fight fans thought that Joshua was the best heavyweight in the world (he’s not). However, Ruiz didn’t just land a single punch to win; he repeatedly knocked Joshua down. On this night, he was clearly the best fighter; no luck was involved.

12) Corrie Sanders KO 2 Wladimir Klitschko

Sanders was a relative unknown heading into this fight, and Klitschko looked like a man who had the skill could dominate the heavyweight division for the next decade. Instead, Sanders exposed Wladimir’s biggest weakness in front of the world, his chin.

11) Ken Norton SD 12 Muhammad Ali I

Going into this fight, Ali was ranked number one and Norton number six. Norton had no standout victories, and nobody gave him much of a chance. The surprising thing here is that he actually got the decision! Norton broke Ali’s jaw during the course of the fight and was the definite winner.

10) Muhammad Ali KO 8 George Foreman

Ali was 32 years old, and on the downside of his career, at least that’s what most people thought. Foreman was seemingly invincible, knocking out Joe Frazier in two rounds. It seemed the same fate would await Ali. But, instead, Ali employed a rope a dope tactic to tire out Foreman and eventually knocked out Foreman in the eighth round of a classic and unforgettable battle.

9) Cassius Clay KO 7 Sonny Liston I

Once again, Ali faced what was considered an invincible opponent, and once again, Ali showed everybody that nobody was invincible. Ali may have won the fight mentally before it began, as he acted like a crazy man in the lead-up to the fight. However, during the fight, he showed speed no heavyweight has ever shown, even today.

8) Hasim Rahman KO5 Lennox Lewis

Lewis was coming off a dominant performance against the tough David Tua and looked to be at the height of his powers. Rahman was a good fighter with a strong punch but was widely seen as a soon-to-be knockout victim. Lewis came into the fight at his highest weight up to that time and got flattened by a stunning right hand near the end of the fifth round. Check out the top sports betting sites for betting on boxing!

7) Leon Spinks SD 15 Muhammad Ali

Spinks was in just his eighth pro bout, and just two fights before had struggled to get a draw with Scott LeDoux in a fight most thought LeDoux had won. Ali was older and slower, but he had enough to beat the tough Earnie Shavers just a few months before. Ali tried a little rope a dope against Spinks, but Spinks was too strong and kept coming after Ali. As Ali would say after the fight, Spinks was relentless on the attack.

6) Michael Spinks UD 15 Larry Holmes

No Light Heavyweight Champion had ever beaten the Heavyweight Champion. To make the upset even better, Holmes was just one win away from Rocky Marciano’s 49-0. In three months, Spinks gained over twenty pounds under the guidance of nutritionist Mackie Shilstone. Whatever Shilstone did at the training table and in their workouts worked as Spinks constantly beat Holmes to the punch to win a close but deserved decision.

5) James Braddock UD 15 Max Baer

The bout was held at the Madison Square Garden Bowl, nicknamed “The Graveyard of Champions” because no reigning champion had ever successfully defended his title there. And to the surprise of most in attendance, the Graveyard of Champions would bury another one. Baer was seemingly disinterested in fighting on this night, and Braddock took full advantage to win a close but just decision.

4) Evander Holyfield KO 11 Mike Tyson I

People forget that Tyson was on a roll in this fight, and Holyfield looked old in his last four fights while winning just two of them. At the opening of betting, Tyson was a 25-1 favorite, which was bet down to 10-1 by fight time. Holyfield, in the end, was just the stronger fighter physically, and more importantly, mentally.

Check out the top sites for betting on Boxing!

3) Oliver McCall KO 2 Lennox Lewis

McCall was a hot and cold heavyweight who had some good wins but also some bad losses. Lewis seemed almost unbeatable going into this fight. He was young, strong, and fast. But, younger, stronger, and faster, in the end, was not enough because McCall landed a huge right hand that stopped Lewis in the second round.

2) Max Schmeling KO 11 Joe Louis

Max was the former Heavyweight Champion of the World, but the odds were still over 10-1 against him as he faced the young “Brown Bomber” who had knocked out former Champions Primo Carnera and Max Baer. Schmeling was considered old and over the hill, but he said he saw a weakness in Louis, and he did! He dropped Louis in the 4th round and could barely miss with his right hand afterward, stopping Louis in the 12th.

1) James Douglas KO 10 Mike Tyson

This fight is number one, and it’s not even close! Tyson was a 42-1 favorite and had been quickly dispatching everything that got in his way, while “Buster” had quit against Tony Tucker, and most questioned how much heart Douglas had. On one February night in Tokyo, Japan, though, Buster Douglas was special and dominated Tyson for most of the fight, finally leaving Tyson on the canvas searching for his mouthpiece, a beaten fighter.

 

Read Also
Looking Back: George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali
Forty-seven years ago, many said the fight between undisputed heavyweight champion of ...
Tommy Morrison and AIDS: Takin’ care of business
Tommy Morrison burst onto the professional boxing scene in 1988. Following a ...
SI Sportsbook Promo
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Elmer Ray: The Humble Man of Hastings
"Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for ...
Superman vs. Muhammad Ali: How the Heavyweight Champ and the Man of Steel Saved the World in 1978
Training The Mego toy corporation, arguably best known for its line of ...
Lady Tyger’s Tale: How Marian Trimiar Mauled the Boxing Establishment of the 1970s and 80s
To Feed the Ambition in Your Heart is Like Carrying a Tiger ...
The Army Boxer Who Knocked-Down Muhammad Ali (1960)
I had wanted to write a boxing story about Junebug Hudson for ...
Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua 2: Twice As Nice
This Saturday night live on DAZN in America the most anticipated event ...
TGTN Boxing Writers’ Predictions: Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua II
Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) vs. Anthony Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), ...
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
95/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
94/100
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
92/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
90/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
WynnBET
WynnBET Bonus
Bet $100 Get $100
T&Cs apply
9/10
Latest News
College Football Conference Final Predictions
Week 13 paid off because it was rivalry ...
Estrada vs. Gonzalez 3: Celebrating the Last Decade of Flyweight/Super Flywei...
This Saturday night, the crescendo to a decade-long ...
Patriots Playoff hopes slim after Thursday night loss to the Bills
The New England Patriots playoff hopes are officially ...
Betting Tips
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: NFL Prediction Show: Week 9 Picking all games against the spread
NFL Prediction Show: Week 9 Picking all games against the spread
Video: Froggy Talkin Sports W/ Ryan and Joe
Froggy Talkin Sports W/ Ryan and Joe
Video: The NFL Draft Show
The NFL Draft Show
Social Casino of the month
Stake.us - Sign up now! Sign up now!
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....
Top Online Casinos
Top Casinos Bonuses
Stake.us
Stake.us
Stake.us Review
97/100
BetRivers.net
BetRivers.net
BetRivers.net Review
96/100
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Review
95/100
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Review
94/100
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Review
92/100
Stake.us
Stake.us Bonus
5% Rakeback
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
BetRivers.net
BetRivers.net Bonus
Daily Rewards up to 10k VC$
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
Golden Hearts Games
Golden Hearts Games Bonus
Join GOLDEN2000 for 2,000 FREE coins
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
LuckyLand Slots
LuckyLand Slots Bonus
7,000 Gold Coins + 10 Sweeps Coins
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
Fortune Coins
Fortune Coins Bonus
140k GC + 400 FC
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
95/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
94/100
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
92/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
90/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
WynnBET
WynnBET Bonus
Bet $100 Get $100
T&Cs apply
9/10
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsMark Lewis
+6
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: [email protected]

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

Trading financial products carries a high risk to your capital, especially trading leverage products such as CFDs. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

ccww
Move to Top
Close
Our Sports Pros recommend these awesome Social Casino sites this week:
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site